- The bill will allow three days of paid bereavement leave to mothers and their partners in the event of a miscarriage or stillbirth
- The bill covers women who lose a child at any point during their pregnancy
- It extends to their partners and parents who choose to adopt or use surrogacy to have a child
New Zealand's parliament voted unanimously on Wednesday, March 24, to grant mothers and their families three days of paid bereavement leave after a miscarriage or stillbirth.
Although employers were already expected to provide paid leave in the event of stillbirth in the country, there was some ambiguity about the requirements.
The innovative new bill eliminates all doubt by expanding insurance to someone who loses a pregnancy at any stage in their pregnancy, CBS News reported.
"This is a bill about workers' rights and fairness," tweeted Labour member of Parliament Ginny Andersen, who presented the bill.
"I hope it gives people time to grieve and promotes greater openness about miscarriage. We should not be fearful of our bodies," she added.
When faced with the end of a pregnancy, mourning couples had to take sick leave previously.
Advocates for the bill hope that it will bring financial stability to mourning families and open the door to more open dialogue about miscarriages and stillbirths.
Many people usually find it difficult and awkward to discuss losing their babies or seek support for it.
Couples who have experienced miscarriages or stillbirths as a result of surrogacy or adoption are also eligible for the leave.
Abortions, however, are not covered by the bill.
"The grief that comes with miscarriage is not a sickness — it is a loss," Andersen said during a reading of the bill.
"That loss takes time. Time to recover physically and time to recover mentally. Time to recover with a partner, because often, the mother is not alone in her grief," she added.
She further criticised employers who force employees to use sick days following miscarriages.
Andersen claimed that New Zealand was the second nation in the world to pass such legislation.
She encouraged other countries to "recognize the pain and sorrow that miscarriage and stillbirth bring" and pass similar legislation.